Con Law Question: Issue Spotting

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stella55
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Con Law Question: Issue Spotting

Postby stella55 » Sun May 03, 2015 12:07 pm

Does anyone have a clue about this question from a old-ish practice exam? I'm not sure if I'm missing something, or if we just didn't cover this. I'm having a hard time spotting the issue here. Thanks in advance!

PART II (25 points)

In 2004, for purpose of overcoming resistance in African-American community, federal Department of Education secretly paid $240k to prominent African-American pundit, Armstrong Williams, to promote Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind program on his nationally syndicated TV show. The disclosure, in January 2005, of Williams's contract provoked significant public protected and resulted in federal legislation aimed to curb the practice of paying journalists and public figures for favorable coverage and commentary. That legislation, the Anti-Propaganda Act, provides, in relevant part:

"No department, agency, or other arm of the executive branch shall use public funds, or any other thing of value, to purchase, solicit or influence the coverage of, or commentary about, actual or contemplated governmental policies, except by persons or entities clearly identified as representatives of, or as spokespersons for, the government of the United States."

In the spring of 2006, senior officials in the US Department of Defense (DoD) have considered developing a "public information" program designed to combat the growing pressure to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. As part of the program, DoD employees would produce fake news stories, letters to the editor, and feature articles, all designed to put the U.S. intervention in favorable light and to downplay the magnitude of the Iraqi opposition. The DoD would then pay journalists, commentators or news organizations to publish or broadcast these materials under their own names.

You are a junior attorney in the DoD General Counsel's Office. Please prepare a memo developing the strongest arguments in support of the proposed program's constitutionality, and analyzing whether such a program is likely to be struck down by courts.

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MCFC
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Re: Con Law Question: Issue Spotting

Postby MCFC » Sun May 03, 2015 6:47 pm

I took Con Law a year ago but is it trying to get you to talk about the executive's powers to wage war, and how Congress might be infringing on them?

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swampman
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Re: Con Law Question: Issue Spotting

Postby swampman » Sun May 03, 2015 7:03 pm

Yeah, so for any federal action think about where they get the authority to do it. Congress is generally limited to its Article 1 Section 8 enumerated powers. At first glance at least I don't see where they would get the authority to enact that law. I guess taxing and spending powers?

stella55
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Re: Con Law Question: Issue Spotting

Postby stella55 » Sun May 03, 2015 7:16 pm

MCFC wrote:I took Con Law a year ago but is it trying to get you to talk about the executive's powers to wage war, and how Congress might be infringing on them?


We didn't cover that at all in my class, so that may be why it's not clear to me. Thanks!

stella55
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:33 am

Re: Con Law Question: Issue Spotting

Postby stella55 » Sun May 03, 2015 7:17 pm

swampman wrote:Yeah, so for any federal action think about where they get the authority to do it. Congress is generally limited to its Article 1 Section 8 enumerated powers. At first glance at least I don't see where they would get the authority to enact that law. I guess taxing and spending powers?


Thanks. That's where I got stuck. Because while it seems *possibly* related to spending/taxing, this question struck me as more concerned with war-related issues, which we did not cover at all. At least, I'm hoping that's the case because i completely blanked on this one.




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